I was first introduced to these Healthy Chocolate Truffles while cooking for a First Descents trip in Hood River, Oregon. My sous chef had just learned how to make these delicious little gems at the culinary school she attended. After one bite, I was hooked! I made sure I got the recipe before she left and I’ve been making them for every retreat since then.
This recipe is free of refined sugar, gluten and dairy. They’re made with a combination of cacao powder, dates and prunes (or you can call them “dried plums” if “prunes” make you think of your grandmother). Cacao powder is a pure form of cocoa powder, as it’s cold-pressed. This type of processing helps retain the nutrients. Cocoa powder is roasted at a high temperature, meaning the health properties are decreased. If you can’t find raw cacao powder, opt for an organic and unsweetened cocoa powder. It’s important to use really good ingredients because there are only 5 total. Therefore, quality really makes a significant difference in flavor.
Health Benefits of Cacao Powder
- Contains antioxidants, including flavanols and polyphenols
- Rich source of dietary fiber and minerals, such as magnesium and potassium
- Helps release certain neurotransmitters that produce feelings of positivity and love
Homemade Gifts & Preparation Tips
These treats are perfect for an after dinner nibble and make a beautiful homemade Valentine’s Day gift. Simply double or triple the recipe so you have enough to share. Or if you’re serving them at a party, you can make up to 4 to 6 times the recipe to yield enough for 25 to 30 guests.
You will need a food processor for this. Make the recipe at least 5 to 6 hours before you want to serve them, as they need to completely firm up in the freezer in order to achieve that “truffle-like” texture. You can serve them straight from the freezer – and store them in the freezer so you never have to worry about making too many!
A sweet treat without any refined sugar, gluten, or dairy. Make as many as you like – they freeze beautifully for long-term storage.
- 1/4 cup prunes, pitted
- 1/2 cup Medjool dates, pitted
- 3 Tbsp. almond butter
- 1 Tbsp. Grade B maple syrup
- 6 Tbsp. unsweetened cacao powder (I like this one)
- 1/2 cup unsweetened, shredded coconut
- Place the prunes and dates in a bowl and cover them with hot water for 10 minutes. Drain. Note: this helps soften the fruit but if you leave them in much longer the truffles will be too soft.
- Start the food processor, and drop the prunes and dates one at a time through the feed tube. Stop and scrape the bowl as needed until all the fruit is in. Process until the fruit is completely broken down.
- Add the almond butter, maple syrup and cacao powder to the processor, and continue to process until the mixture is smooth.
- Place the mixture in a small bowl and refrigerator for 1 hour. (The mixture will be too warm and sticky to work with.) After an hour, pinch off a piece and roll it into a ball. If it’s still too warm, wait another hour.
- To set up your truffle station, start with a clean counter. You’ll need your bowl of truffle mixture, 1 parchment-paper lined plate or baking sheet, 1 large plate and 1 small bowl of water. (It helps to dip your fingertips into the water before rolling each truffle to keep them from sticking; though this is still a slightly messy process.) Place the shredded coconut on another plate, and set aside.
- Get your hands a little wet. With a small spoon, scoop some of the mixture into your hands. Gently roll it into a ball and place it on the parchment-lined plate or sheet. Keep the balls on the smaller side, about an inch to an inch and a half. Roll all of the mixture, wetting your hands as needed. It’s okay if the balls are not perfectly round, as you will roll them again with the coconut.
- Wash and dry your hands, and roll the balls into the coconut to lightly coat the exterior. Place them on the remaining large plate. Place the plate in the freezer for at least 2 hours.
- If you are making a large batch, you may need to stop midway to wash your hands and start the rolling process over.
- You can also make these without coconut! If you (or someone you’re making them for) doesn’t like coconut, you can roll these in cocoa powder instead. They DO need to be rolled in something, so if you try something else, let me know how it turned out!